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How I Seem To Do “All The Things”

How I Seem To Do “All The Things” | Growing Up Herbal | It’s easy to look at people across a screen and think they “do it all,” but today, I’d like to pull back the curtain and tell you how I do “all the things” I seem to do.

I recently received an email from a blog reader over in Scotland (can I visit you, please!!) asking how I do it all. She said, “I’d just like to know how you do it! You work, write, blog, you learn, you reach out, you pick wild herbs, bake, cook, homeschool, and much, much more. I simply cannot go to the toilet in peace, never mind sit down and do any research… and that’s with one child at school and a second in nursery school! (I have a 2-year-old with me all the time!) I’ve not read your posts properly for months – due to my wee ones and generally a lot of chores to do. Do your little ones happily give you space to work after schooling, or do you have someone to look after them? ”

Seeing how this isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this sort of thing, I figured it would be an excellent time to attempt to address this common question.

Now before I get around to telling you how I make things work for me, I want you to know two significant things.

  1. First, I don’t do it all. I have help. If I had to do it all, I would certainly not get as much done.
  2. And secondly, the way I do things doesn’t mean that’s the right way to do it. It just means that this is what works for me. At any point in the future, things could change. In fact, they probably will as life rarely stays the same.

So let me be a bit more transparent with you (which something I always try to do).

My Ideal Life

I, like most folks, have a lot going on in my life, and often, life is challenging to keep up with it all. I regularly feel like I’m missing the mark or failing in some way. A couple years ago, I came across the idea of creating a big picture of what I wanted my life to look like. I took that advice seriously and decided that I wanted the following things.

  • I want a clean house that’s decorated nicely. I want our home to be a haven… a place that we want to spend time at with each other. I want to be able to open our home up to friends and family and have them feel welcome, too.
  • I want to educate my children in a non-conventional manner ― exposing them to a lot of different subjects and ideas while they’re young and letting them hone in on what they want to learn more about as they get older.
  • I want to live a healthy lifestyle, one complete with real foods, daily forms of exercise, proper sleep, minimal toxins, and using alternative therapies over modern ones as much as possible.
  • I want to travel as much as possible with my whole family ― here in the United States and beyond in other countries. I want to experience different people and places, learn from them, and take a little piece of them back with me to the mountains of Tennessee.
  • I want to invest in others in some way, shape, or form whether that’s meeting a financial need they have, spending time with them, sharing what I know or what I’ve learned in life, or simply praying for them and speaking blessings on them.

Once I had my ideal picture in mind, I had to plan out what I needed to do to make these things happen. I needed to make small, achievable goals that would get me where I wanted to be, and then I had to meet these goals, one after the other, which is the hard part. Sometimes I do well in meeting my goals, and other times I’m lazy and don’t. I’ve learned to go with the flow ― that my motivation will wax and wane, and if it’s not there one day to be gentle with myself as it will likely be back the next. I’ve also learned that if one thing doesn’t work, it’s time to re-evaluate and try something else.

Okay, so back to the daily grind of making this ideal lifestyle happen and doing “all the things.”

There are four things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me seem like I do “all the things.” Here they are.

1. It’s Okay To Say No

The first thing I’ve learned to do over the years is to be okay with saying no. I simply can’t do everything. There are so many opportunities that come our way on a weekly basis, if I said yes to all of them, I’d be living for others instead of living for myself or my family. Now, I know that may sound a bit selfish, and I don’t mean for it to be. It’s just that I’ve seen people do this to the point of wearing themselves down. I love that saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” because it’s so true. If I want to be the best wife, mom, employer/employee, fill-in-the-blank, I can be, I have to have room to breathe, and that means I have to say no more than I say yes.

2. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

The second thing I’ve learned is to simplify life as much as possible. I still struggle with this from time to time, but it’s getting easier the more I do it. When it comes to meal planning, exercise routines, homeschool work, the kid’s schedules, all of it. I don’t have to cook 5-course meals every night. Instead, I shoot for meals that are ready in 30 minutes or less. I don’t have to leave my house to go to the gym and put in a one-hour workout every day. Instead, I stay home and get in a 30-45 minute video workout as many days as possible. I don’t have to have my kids involved in every sport under the sun. Instead, I decide what to involve them in based on their preferences, our current schedule, and what will benefit them later in life. Simplify.

3. Delegate Those Responsibilities

The third thing I’ve learned to do over the years is to delegate tasks to other capable people. At home, my husband has certain responsibilities, and when he’s super busy, he sometimes hires someone to help him. Same goes for me. As much as I’d like to be superwoman and do everything myself. I’m not. I can’t be. So I look for people (or things) to help me in these areas I need help in. My kids also have responsibilities at home in the form of chores. They have daily chores and weekly chores which change according to the season and their abilities. Whatever they don’t get done during the week, they do on Saturdays. And yes, if you’re wondering, we do give them rewards for completing their chores, usually in the form of money or going out somewhere fun.

4. Create A Routine That Works For You

The last thing I’ve learned over the years is that routines are a must for us, but we must also be able to break them when needed. Routines simply work for us, and most days, they feel like my saving grace. They keep us on track by helping us make the best use of our time each day. However, there are times when our routine simply won’t work and we need to break away from it. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often, but it is to be expected from time to time.

When making our routines, I think about my priorities each day. There’s teaching the boys, there’s my Herbal Academy work, there are meals to make, there are outside-the-home activities to go to, and there’s me-time (yes, that’s a priority for me). Once I have my priorities laid out, I plug them into my day. While our daily routine is ever evolving, it rarely changes too much.

Below is a walk-through of a typical day for us.

  • I start my day with some me-time (coffee, breakfast, devotion, and journaling).
  • Once the kids are up and have eaten breakfast, we start school. We do all our group work together first, and then we split up ― the older boys doing independent work (following a list) while I work one-on-one with the younger boys.
  • Once the younger boys have finished, they go off to play together, and I do my workout.
  • When that’s over, I make lunch and we eat.
  • After lunch, the bigger boys continue their school work while the younger boys play, and I settle into my online work. That continues until dad gets home. At that point, all schoolwork and my works should be finished for the day.
  • At this point, things vary depending on whether or not we have an activity to go to. Sometimes Dean takes the boys so I can stay home, sometimes I take the boys so he can stay home, and sometimes we all go. It depends.
  • Dinner often happens somewhere in this space of time, mostly at home, but sometimes we go out to eat for a treat.
  • At some point we end up back at home, the boys get ready for bed, and Dean and I have time just for the two of us. Once we put them to bed, they know they are to stay there (except to go to the bathroom or get a drink) because it’s mom-dad time. I can’t tell you how important this time has been to our relationship, especially the older the boys get and the more attention and time they need from us throughout the day. For my sanity’s sake, I need adult time and time to relax without my kids every day. Some moms aren’t that way. I am.

Okay, so the takeaway from all this is that we all have different goals in life. Once you know what you want your life to look like, you can prioritize your goals into a schedule that works for you, and this will help you accomplish more throughout the day. At least, that’s my experience, anyway.

8 thoughts on “How I Seem To Do “All The Things””

  1. Very well said! It does look very easy from the outside, but really, most families deal with the same issues. Some are just further along the path. I need to take your advice. I’m on my second year of homeschool and we’ve finally managed into a routine that works for all of us. I’m trying not to “do all the things” anymore.

  2. Thank you so much for this, Meagan.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you are inspirational.
    I do try to do it all. And that’s daft. I’ve become a bit of a moaning ‘martyr’ as a result, and that benefits no one. I recently realised (d’oh!) it’s up to ME to change things I’m not happy with.
    I’ve started running a couple of nights a week and fast walking a bit on some days with my littlest one in her buggy (clears the cobwebs away and is ‘me time’),which really helps my mood and energises me. We’re all different,
    of course, and what works for me may not for others but I have to say that just getting out of the house and getting some exercise and fresh air has pulled me put of the ‘doldrums’. It’s a start, anyway and I can’t recommend it enough. Seems very obvious (get out…get exercise) but, hey…
    I’ve lots to work on for me, my family (with a heavy accent on the living ‘naturally’ front) and beyond, but this is a beginning…
    Thanks again for the supportive and inspirational work that you do.
    Kx
    P.S. Of course you can come and visit. We can whip up a big batch of wild garlic pesto. There’s tons of it here in Spring!

    1. It’s also important to remember that when your kids are very young (2 is still such a babe!) you may not find the time you need for personal time. Sometimes you can find help with relatives or hiring in a helper, but with many families you just have yourselves. Evening (once everyone was in bed) was huge for me. Even if it was just half an hour of “me” time or “spouse” time, it made a difference. As the kids grow older though, they can often do things more independently and of you can start to set up those routines now it can make huge inroads to shaping how it goes in the future. I love how you said, “this is a beginning”, that is the key. Just begin…You got this!

      1. I so agree with Liz here. Now that my youngest is four, and my older boys can help with him more often, I definitely have more time for myself to do things that feed me emotionally. And my husband is REALLY good about keeping all the boys so I can get out a bit. In previous years, before this was the norm, I felt successful just getting all the kids in the bed for the night so I could relax with my husband, enjoy a glass of red wine, and zone out with a book or a favorite TV show. Either that or a nice hot bath. Those two things did wonders for helping me not to feel too bogged down in the day-to-day mundane tasks that were on me. Best of luck, friend, and if I every come to Scotland (my finger’s are SO crossed), I may take you up on that garlic pesto!!

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